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The Ultimate Startup Podcast PR Guide

By Fraser Gillies 5 March, 2020

The PR Podcast playbook book

The Buggles once espoused that ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. While most of us took that to be gospel, it no longer applies in the modern day. 

Video, in its traditional sense, has been replaced by the podcast.

Podcasts are fast-becoming our most popular medium for absorbing information. In fact, since 2013, the number of listens to podcasts on iTunes US has doubled

Why are podcasts’ listenership surging? 

Once an unused, estranged media halfway house, podcasts are now the primary vessel for unbounded and unregulated conversation. 

That’s fine and dandy for podcasters. But what does all this mean for podcast PR? 

A few things. 

Given the upward trends of dedicated listenership, the best way for startups to reach their target market is through podcasts. Having said that, it can also be the mouthpiece for your startup’s identity. A podcast allows you to control the message your startup transmits to your target audience.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide. It gives you the A-Z on how to make a podcast, as well as being a guest on one. We cover:

  • What is a podcast?
  • The PR podcast checklist
  • What format should my podcast be?
  • What resources do I need?
  • Good podcasting practices
  • What should I do after I make my podcast?
  • Guesting on other podcast

Let’s get into it. 

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a series of talks or conversations, typically with one or more recurring hosts around a particular theme. Podcasts are typically released episodically and can include guests to discuss or debate different topics. 

The lifeblood of a standalone podcast is its subscribers. Success is generally dictated by the number of subscriptions and repeat listeners. When a podcast’s listenership develops on a large scale, it can run paid ads or endorsements from other businesses, and begin building a revenue stream. 

Unlike a radio show, a podcast can last as long as you like. From 15-20 minutes like The Loudspeaker, or 4-5 hours like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, the best podcasts are unconstrained and cater to different types of listener.

The PR podcast checklist

At this point, you’ve probably established you want to make your own podcast for your startup. 

You’ve taken the first step in developing your startup’s social proof. And we love it. Now all you need to know is how to make a good podcast. 

We’ve got your covered with our PR Podcast checklist:

Does my podcast have defined and measurable goals?

It all comes back to that inspired quote from the great 21st century philosopher Drake — “a goal is just a dream with a deadline”. 

Productive planning and SMART goals should be integral to any PR or marketing strategy. A podcast is no different. 

So, how can you determine these dreams with deadlines?

Firstly, filter down the desired benefits a podcast would bring your startup. There are certainly a few:

  • Building industry credibility
  • Establishing thought leadership
  • Social proof
  • Increase exposure to different customer profiles

All these metrics can all be measured. After this is defined, you need a plan. Think about the resources you want to put into your podcast e.g. time and budget.

All of these factors will play a role in the success of ensuring your startup’s podcast is a significant PR win.

What is my podcast’s competition like?

We all want to know how the other half live. 

In business, this isn’t just for the sake of keeping up appearances. Knowing what your competitors have done and will do is crucial to growing your market share. This is the same when you’re making a podcast. 

Why?

Well, if your competitors aren’t already making their own podcast, this spells good news. You can become a podcast trend-setter, demonstrating that your startup is ahead of the curve. 

What if your rivals have beaten you to it? 

Don’t fret. 

Simply carry out a competitor’s analysis.This’ll help you assess how your rivals make their podcasts and how you can do it better. As a result, you’ll open up unexplored podcast avenues and new angles to make your podcast unique. 

competitors analysis infographic

What are the different podcast formats?

Once you’ve ticked off the PR podcast checklist, you’ll want to start thinking about what your show is going to look like. 

We’ve whittled generic podcast structures down to four suitable categories for you to choose from. 

Interviews

An interview format for a podcast is fairly self-explanatory. 

You as the podcaster interviews internal and/or external guests about a given topic. The interview format is fairly structured.

Interview formats can be ideal for securing guests with industry notoriety, as interviews allow guests to promote themselves or projects they’re working on. 

Additionally, if your startup is a B2B company, you could invite business clients to discuss their business’ journey, solidifying your customer relationships.

Conversational

A format with a looser feel, conversation podcasts show your human side.

Conversation podcasts are more relaxed than interviews, but require a good depth of subject knowledge and confidence around the topic. 

How could you plan a conversational podcast?

Pick a subject for each episode and talk in as much or as little detail around the talking points as you see fit.

If your startup fancies itself as an industry guru, conversational podcasts are the optimal arena for building industry credibility and social proof.

Educational

Educational content arguably offers the highest value of information to a listenership. 

If you want to create a podcast that’s rich with knowledge and encourages repeat listeners, an educational format will suit your startup’s PR objectives.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that educational podcasts can take a lot of preparation. Moreover, educational podcasts without visual aids can be difficult to produce.

Solo-casts

Podcasting solo is seen by some as a daunting venture. 

As the only person speaking, not having someone to bounce ideas off can present issues if your trail of thought dries up. However, one of the joys of podcasting is that you can edit out all your umms and ahhs, or any other vocal faux paus.

Solo-casting should be your choice of podcast format if your startup is intent on developing strong bonds with its clients. 

Why?

Because your startup can control 100% of the communication with the audience.

Furthermore, solo-casts mean podcast recordings are always on your startup’s schedule, and not dependent on guest availability.

An identifiable brand image and corporate message are vital components to a solid PR strategy. Therefore, a solo-cast podcast could be the perfect space to nurture these traits.

What resources do I need?

Your startup’s resources are vital to the success of any PR tactic. Recording a podcast is no different. 

However, before asking yourself how to make a successful podcast, you should organize all the tools you need for podcast production and editing. 

With that in mind, we’ve listed the four most important resources you startup needs to make your podcast the right way.

  • Headset – Investing in a quality headset is a common sense purchase for your podcast. Headset’s are not only useful during podcast recording but for editing and production as well.
  • Condenser microphone – Another savvy spend would be a decent condenser microphone. What is a condenser microphone? A microphone that uses a capacitor to convert soundwaves. Condenser microphones capture a large frequency range and typically have quality temporary responses. 
  • Recording/Production software – The format and time spent on your startup’s podcast should give your startup an idea for the best recording software to use. Here are our two picks for best recording software for a startup podcast:
  1. Audacity – For startup’s dipping their toes in the podcast water, Audacity’s free audio software is a fine starting point.
  2. Adobe Audition – If your startup is serious about making podcasts a focal point, shelling out $20.99 a month for the Rolls Royce of audio software is a wise move.
  • A quiet place – While this resource doesn’t necessarily have a financial cost, a silent spot for recording can’t be underestimated. Picking a day which has human traffic and lower noise pollution is a smart move. For example, we record The Loudspeaker on Friday afternoons after the majority of the team has gone to work from home.
the podcast infographic checklist

Good podcasting practices

So, you’ve decided what format your podcast is going to be and you’ve set up all your recording equipment. You’re ready to start producing your first podcast episode.

To paraphrase my teenage brother, this startup just got real.

podcast should be met with the same level of attention as any other owned media content. Although, producing audio or video content requires different skills to written content. Therefore, it’s natural to be a bit tense before recording time comes.

To help quell any fears, we’ve highlighted our most valuable podcast PR practices to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Record on a set day

Choosing a particular day to record allows you to organize the steps you need to take before episode production.

As previously mentioned, selecting a day where your recording space will have minimal external noise pollution is optimal. 

Furthermore, pick a day with your guests in mind. For example, ask yourself if Mondays are difficult days for travelling guests, or if they’ll want to make the trip to your office on a Saturday.

Balance quality with quantity

Sure, the old saying goes that it’s about ‘quality, not quantity’. 

However, at Publicize, we don’t play by the rules.

Having a podcast that you’re proud to put your startup’s name to is clearly important. You want to create a dialogue that educates and enlightens your listenership. Moreover, you want to encourage them to subscribe and tell their friends to sign up. 

Yet, delivering a consistent stream of podcast episodes is the best way to build a large and loyal listener base. In fact, 22% of the US population will listen to podcasts on a weekly basis in 2020. 

What podcasting platform should I use?

When podcasting first came into existence in 2000, paid platforms were the only way that you could broadcast your podcast. However, once YouTube arrived five years later – this was no longer the story. 

That being said, it would be wrong to say that paid podcasting platforms are a waste of money. Generally speaking, paid platforms offer better analytics than their free counterparts. 

This is a major plus when trying to figure out the ROI in PR of making a podcast.

Today, there are a multitude of podcasting platform choices. We’ve given our favorite free and paid podcasting platforms below: 

Paid podcasting platforms:

  • Buzzsprout (Offers free package for 2 hours of content a month)
  • Podbean (Offers free package for 5 hours total of podcast content)
  • Transistor(Offers 14 day free trial)

Free podcasting platforms:

Who’s best to host your podcast?

Depending on the size of your startup, this may be a quick question to answer. On the other hand, choosing the right host for your podcast could be a critical factor in its success or failure. 

Why is that?

Well, for one, your podcast host should be confident and knowledgeable about your startup and the podcast’s topics. Enthusiasm is a vital trait for your podcast host.This is because developing a listener base is dependent on your host’s ability to keep people engaged throughout the episode.

In addition, your host’s voice is important to consider. People with strong accents can add personality, but might not be clear enough for listeners from a variety of backgrounds. Selecting someone who speaks with both a neutral and clear tone is always preferable.

Always warm-up with guests

If your podcast is anything but a solo-cast, having rapport with your guest(s) can make or break the quality of an episode.

If you’re unfamiliar with your guest, give yourself time to get to chat before you hit record. There’s nothing worse than recording audio or video content and not knowing the conversational style of your guest. 

Pro tip: Before you record a podcast, introduce yourself to your guest and let them feel comfortable. Make sure to show an active interest in your guest to produce the best possible podcast episode.

Post podcast tips

Your podcast has been recorded, edited, and uploaded to the platform. Time to put your feet up. 

Hold on there cowboy. You’re not finished yet. 

You need to let the world know about your podcasting feats. Start shouting about your podcast from the rooftops. A good loudspeaker to start with is social media. 

Social media pr is a fantastic avenue for boosting the organic visibility of your content. Podcasts are no different. Moreover, advertising the launch of your podcast does wonders for strengthening your startup’s brand identity. 

Pro tip: Your social media PR strategy should always be a mix. There’s an inherent need for both organic and paid social media marketing, if you want to reach your PR goals successfully.

Setting up a landing page on your website with your podcast episodes embedded is considered good post-podcast practice. 

Backlink outreach for your podcast’s landing page can propel your startup’s owned media into the guise of new audiences. Do some research on list-based articles around podcasts. Looking for articles around ‘Best new podcasts to listen to’ write to the website and ask them to put a backlink to your podcast page. Make sure the site has a high domain authority score so that the backlink has value to your startup’s own website. 

Finally, simply asking your listeners to subscribe to and rate your episodes on the podcast’s platform(s) allows you to track the growth of your listenership.

BONUS TIP: guesting on other podcasts

Up until now, we’ve solely covered how to make your own podcast.

However, what if you don’t have the time or resources to make your own podcast?

You, my friend, are talking about becoming a podcast guest.

Guesting on other podcasts is a great way to win some valuable earned media coverage. If you guest on the right type of podcast, you can reach your target market and convey your startup message in an effective manner. Additionally, podcast guesting gives you the perfect arena for establishing your startup’s social proof. 

That’s fine, but how do you go about this?

First things first, let’s organize your reasons for guesting. 

Are you promoting your startup, your startup’s own podcast, trying to reach your target audience, or a combination of all three?

Clarifying your reasons for guesting will help you to know if you’re going on the right podcast.

Many people think that being a guest speaker is difficult. The assumption is that podcasts need to know who you are and think that you’d be the right guest.

Actually, that’s not the case.

The reality is that your startup probably isn’t known to the wide world. Therefore, podcast guest appearances require a bit of leg work on your part. Responding to podcast guest requests through sites like HARO for example is definitely worth your while. 

find podcast guesting opportunities infographic

Wrapping up

As you know, the podcast world orbits The Joe Rogan Experience. That being said, your startup’s podcast efforts shouldn’t be intimidated by the heavy-hitters out there. 

Remember why you’re making the podcast and the goals you hope to achieve from it. 

It feels like we’re on the cusp of a revolutionary shift within the world of podcasting.Ass we enter 2020, there’s no doubt that joining the podcast community will add meaningful value to your startup. 

By following a clear vision and our handy tips, your podcast will be a polished PR masterpiece. More importantly, you’ll avoid spouting disorganized deranged conjecture like a certain Alex Jones.


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